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An aerial photo shows severe flooding in a residential area of Baton Rouge, La. on Aug. 15, 2016. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

Global Warming Likely Doubled Chances of Historic Louisiana Rainfall, Study Finds

"We found that the mostly likely impact of climate change is a near doubling of the odds of such a storm"

Andrea Germanos

New federal research backs up claims the historic rainfall that triggered disastrous flooding in Louisiana last month is linked to climate change.

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) say that global warming upped the chances for those rains by at least 40 percent compared to 1900.

The NOAA team, along with partners at World Weather Attribution (WWA), published their "rapid assessment" Tuesday in the open access journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences.

They used two climate models and found, as the Associated Press reports, "that climate change turned a once-every-50-year situation somewhere on the Gulf to a once-every-30-year-or-less situation."

"We found human-caused, heat-trapping greenhouse gases can play a measurable role in events such as the August rains that resulted in such devastating floods, affecting so many people," said Karin van der Wiel, a research associate at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and the lead author, in a press statement.

"While we concluded that 40 percent is the minimum increase in the chances of such rains, we found that the mostly likely impact of climate change is a near doubling of the odds of such a storm," she said.

The mid-August deluge flooded over 60,000 homes and killed at least 13 people, and came as NASA and NOAA declared July 2016 the hottest month on record.

As Louisiana was still reeling from the effects, Bill Nye "the Science Guy" told CNN that the massive downpours were the "result of climate change" and warned, "It's only going to get worse."

Climate scientist Michael Mann also told the Real News Network that so-called thousand year events like the rainfall in Louisiana were occurring "far too often to be able to attribute them just to randomness. We are seeing the loading of the random weather dice by climate change."


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